Line-up Marqs 9 years at top for festival

When Cork’s Live at the Marquee festival started nine years ago its chances of reaching a decade were slight to say the least, not because it wasn’t good but because music festivals tend to have a short life-span.

“I never expected it to last so long,” remarked promoter Peter Aiken, only half joking as he announced the most extensive line-up yet for what is regarded as one of the country’s most enduring music get-togethers.

“Macroom Mountain Dew Festival is a case in point,” said Aiken, speaking at this year’s festival launch held at the Boardwalk bar and restaurant on Lapp’s Quay. “It had great success at the start but was gone after three years.”

Aiken puts the success of the Marquee down to great acts and great support. “We always had a fantastic mix of Irish and international acts and it has worked very well.

“People come from all over the country for it and we have had fantastic support here, from the gardaí to Cork City Council to the media. It is not so much a musical festival as a gathering of individual acts and we have had some great ones from the start.”

This year’s festival looks like it might just surpass itself. Little Mix, Bell X1, Ke$ha and Imelda May were yesterday announced as joining a line-up that already includes Elton John, Elvis Costello, Sting, the Boomtown Rats, The National and Olly Murs — everything from pop, to rock, to easy listening and whatever you’re having yourself.

Sting, Elvis Costello, ZZ Top and The Wanted appear at the Marquee for the first time while Elton John, The Coronas and Christy Moore make welcome returns.

International stars love the event, says Aiken, who recalls Elton John remarking on the reception he received at one of his appearances at the Marquee and pouring over an Irish Examiner review the following day.

“It was a good review but it said he only played for an hour and a half. Elton insisted that he played for two-and-a-half hours, and he had. He always gives value for money.”

Indeed, with ticket prices starting at €35, the Marquee offers some great acts at a fair price. Last month it was named as the best small live music festival at the IMRO awards — though small it ain’t, which is probably why Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats are coming.

Once famously described as ‘leprous anti-establishment scumbags’, The Boomtown Rats have reformed some 26 years since their final show in Dublin in May ’86. They will be taking to the stage at Live at the Marquee Cork on Jul 5.

You have been warned!

* aikenpromotions.com

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